Stephens, R ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5851-8975 and Robertson, OM (2020) Swearing as a response to pain: Assessing hypoalgesic effects of novel “swear” words. psyarxiv.

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Abstract

<p>Background: This pre-registered study extends previous findings that swearing alleviates pain tolerance by assessing the effects of a conventional swear word (“fuck”) and two new “swear” words, “fouch” and “twizpipe”.Method: A mixed sex group of participants (N = 92) completed a repeated measures experimental design augmented by mediation analysis. The independent variable was Word with the levels, “fuck” v. “fouch” v. “twizpipe” v. a neutral word. The dependent variables were emotion rating, humour rating, distraction rating, cold pressor pain threshold, cold pressor pain tolerance, pain perception score and change from resting heart rate. Possible mediation effects were assessed for emotion, humour and distraction ratings. Results: For conventional swearing (“fuck”), confirmatory analyses found a 32% increase in pain threshold and a 33% increase in pain tolerance, accompanied by increased ratings for emotion, humour and distraction, relative to the neutral word condition. The new “swear” words, “fouch” and “twizpipe” were rated higher than the neutral word for emotion and humour although these words did not affect pain threshold or tolerance. Changes in heart rate, pain perception and were absent, as were mediation effects.Conclusions: Our data replicate previous findings that repeating a swear word at a steady pace and volume benefits pain tolerance, extending this finding to pain threshold. Our data cannot explain how such effects are manifest, although distraction appears to be of little importance, and emotion is worthy of future study. The new “swear” words did not alleviate pain even though participants rated them as emotion evoking and humorous.</p>

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article can be found published in Frontiers in Psychology. © 2020 Stephens and Robertson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF309 Consciousness. Cognition. Including learning, attention, comprehension, memory, imagination, genius, intelligence, thought and thinking, psycholinguistics, mental fatigue
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2022 12:10
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:10
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/11302

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